Does anyone have advice on using online canteen order systems?

Reader question:

We would love feedback from any schools who have made the move to online canteen orders. We would also appreciate hearing if any anyone out there finds value in the reporting options?

Here is some advice from our Facebook community about their experiences using online canteen ordering systems:

  • We use Flexischools and are approx 70% cashless on orders. We have a ‘one class per week/per term’ volunteer roster. We’re open only three days a week so require 6 volunteers (2 per day) from the nominated class for their ‘week’. We’ve found it works well, although the younger grade’s classes do better at providing volunteers in comparison to year 5 & 6. We also have student volunteers from the upper years come and help our one convenor during over the counter service in 1st & 2nd break.
  • We have been online sales only at our canteen from the start – opened 2013. Our primary school averages approx 1000 enrolled students per year. We struggle with limited volunteers, so could never do cash sales with the volume of students or how our school operates meal times. As we move towards a more cashless society, canteen orders being online only makes sense, however we are aware some families will not use the canteen as we are cashless.
  • We are a large school, you will never be able to go completely cashless. No matter how hard you try, there are still people that prefer to pay with cash. Our fear was if we went completely cashless we would lose sales.
  • We use Meegan Flower Moniter. It’s just a yearly fee. No charge to parents. We set up an online payment portal through our bank so payments go directly to us, not them. Parents can load ID cards with credit to be used as a bank card to make purchases.

One reader was in favour of cash payments:

  • Cash payments are a valuable teaching tool. Kids can come down with their $2 and buy an ice block for 80c plus a cookie for 30c and wonderful tuckshop ladies help the child add up, count their money and work out the change. It’s a real life experience they don’t get in our classrooms. Not only that, you’ll hear from the tuckshop ladies if you don’t use your manners!
  • Flexischools was great for us in the beginning. Was exactly what we needed at the time. However we run for business units and turnover more than $1million a year, and our requirements have changed and the fees became too much.
  • If in doubt bring it up at a meeting and nut out the pros and cons. Maybe consider sending out a survey monkey to the whole school.
  • We use flexischools too. You will never get away from cash payments but you can encourage people to use the online system and explain the benefits. We targeted our preps last year with 99% uptake and will do the same again. Once they’re on the system, they shouldn’t really stop using it. We struggled for volunteers so made the tough decision to drop a day. This made a point and now a term later we have a full roster with a wait list. We will be looking at returning the day we dropped in term 2 as long as we have the help
  • We had cash and Flexischools for a couple of years and then last year took the leap to only allow Flexischools. A few parents have complained, but to be honest nearly everything is done online nowadays. We do hold a small float and kids can still buy their over the counter ice blocks and drinks etc…. or teachers can place orders in the morning if they would like to. But it has worked, saved us time sorting orders and money, it’s easier to order stock and easier to contact parents if there is a problem. We are now also using it for sports days etc. which has also reduced the workload. The school is also happy because they have seen an increase in people paying for excursions online, saving time and effort as well. The world is becoming cashless and that is, unfortunately, going to continue.
  • I’m a canteen manager at a primary school and we use the QKR! app for our orders. I have a reasonable volunteer basis at the moment, but it can vary throughout each year. The no cash has been working for me since I took over the role 2 years ago. The same policy applies when I run a special food day – no orders can be paid on the day or cash beforehand. It also helps my ordering as I can cut it off when I need to, place my orders and then there is no over ordering and no wastage. I also love how the app does all the tallying for me. It’s counted for us and we just count our stickered bags and off we go.

Originally published 31 January, 2019

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